Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Details on Falluja

The L1 authors consistently maintain that Falluja was not an outlier in the sense that it should be discarded. Instead, it was representative of many parts of Iraq. This is from a letter they wrote to the Independent.

Our study found that violence was widespread and up 58-fold after the invasion; that from 32 of the neighbourhoods we visited we estimated 98,000 excess deaths; and that from the sample of the most war-torn communities represented by 30 households in Fallujah more people had probably died than in all of the rest of the country combined.

Fallujah is the only insight into those cities experiencing extreme violence (ie Ramadi, Tallafar, Fallujah, Najaf); all the others were passed over in our sample by random chance. If the Fallujah duster is representative, there were about 200,000 excess deaths above the 98,000.

Perhaps Fallujah is so unique that it represents only Fallujah, implying that it represents only 50-70,000 additional deaths. There is a tiny chance that the neighborhood we visited in Fallujah was worse than the average experience, and only corresponds with a couple of tens of thousands of deaths. We also explain why, given study limitations, our estimate is likely to be low. Therefore, when taken in total, we concluded that the civilian death toll was at least around 100,000 and probably higher, not between 8,000 and l94,000 as Mr. Straw states.

I am still a little hazy on where the 50-70,000 number comes from and what it implies for the population of Falluja.


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